Training Camp Observations: Sunday, August 05, 2012

Training Camp Observations: Sunday, August 05, 2012
Rookie DE Shea McClellin works his way by OT James Brown during Bears Family Night at Soldier Field.

I was back down in Bourbonnais for practice on Sunday as the Bears’ first-team offense and defense went live in practice for the first time in camp. It’s always impressive to watch these guys hit at close to game speed so close up, but it’s also telling.

Here’s my notebook from camp on Sunday:

  • Injuries: Brian Urlacher, Eric Weems and Jabara Williams are all still nursing either soreness or injury. Julius Peppers was also held out of practice, but Smith declined to offer any insight as to what he’s dealing with (was not just a veteran day off, it seemed). Earl Bennett stressed his calf during practice and was seen wearing an ice pack. Matt Forte was slow to get up on play and never came back in. Don’t think any of them are worth worrying about just yet, I’m just notating them for monitoring.
  • If you didn’t hear about it, WR Devin Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL via Twitter just before practice. It was an awkward few moments to say the least.
  • Rookie DE Shea McClellin’s speed was too much for J’Marcus Webb at times on Sunday. He would have had a couple sacks from what I saw. He struggled against Carimi on the other side. His speed is going to be a problem for some guys, but he needs to get stronger to really compliment that and be able to finish against the better tackles in the League. He’ll get there.
  • Rookie Draft selection Isaiah Frey (cornerback) had a nice pick over the middle on a Josh McCown pass. He’s looked good in camp so far, and is starting to turn a few heads.
  • Rookie TE Evan Rodriguez, who’s impressed in camp so far, struggled a bit on Sunday. He’s just starting to show that he’s a rookie, and it’s probably a good thing. I believe he can have some kind of impact this season, but it’s not going to remain so easy for him. Have to take your lumps in order to grow.
  • Chis Conte continues to impress and picked off Cutler deep ball intended for Brandon Marshall. Right now, he’s the starter at free safety. He’s looked smooth and confident throughout camp.
  • Speaking of Marshall, he showed a little bit of that tendency to drop passes on Sunday—something he’s been knocked for. When you’re targeted and covered as much as he is, though, it happens. One thing about Marshall’s career is that he’s always been consistent; even with sub-par passers tossing him the rock. Just an observation.
  • UFA WR Brittan Golden out of West Texas A&M got some reps with the second-team offense yesterday. He’s made an impression and is a guy I think they’ll try to store on the practice squad this season.
  • DE Thaddeus Gibson, who’s having a nice camp, continued to impress during pass rush drills and in 11-on-11s.
  • All in all, it was a sub-par practice for the offense on a pretty nice day. I tried to catch rookie OT James Brown as he came off the field for a couple questions, but he told me the line had to go run sprints. It was the first time the first-team offensive line went live, and it didn’t go so well.

Until next time . . .

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